When an individual consumes a meal, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose molecules that enter our blood stream to be delivered to our cells as a form of energy. In a healthy individual, insulin (a hormone) is released by the pancreas that then attaches to our cells and allows glucose to enter the cells and exit the blood stream. Therefore, when an individual consumes a meal with excessive carbohydrates the body needs to release more insulin to compensate for the extra glucose in the blood.
Type 1 Diabetes: when the pancreas produces minimal or no insulin, resulting in high blood sugar and the need for daily insulin injections for blood sugar control. Type 1 is commonly found in young children and they are likely born with a malfunctioning pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes: develops due to consistent excessive carbohydrate intake over time and in turn the body is unable to keep up with the insulin production needed to stabilize their blood sugar. Type 2 is commonly found in adults and is due to unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices.
Insulin Resistance: when the body is having to produce so much insulin to keep up with the amount of glucose in the blood that the cells become resistant to insulin and glucose is unable to enter the cells, resulting in high blood sugar. Common with Type 2 Diabetics.
What is the best way to control your blood sugar?
By consuming similar amounts of carbohydrate at each meal, 3 – 4 hours apart, 4 – 5 times per day. This type of consumption not only contributes to weight loss but prevents blood glucose spikes, which is essential in avoiding further complications of Dia- betes (i.e. neuropathy, kidney failure, heart disease, etc.). However, not all carbohydrates are created equal! Starchy carbohy- drates and simple sugars are quickly digested and will rapidly raise your blood sugar. While complex and non-starchy carbohy- drates along with other foods high in fiber will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time and will enter the blood stream at a much slower rate, offering blood sugar control. Make most of your carbohydrate selections for your meals the latter option for optimal blood sugar control.
What to do when you know you’ve consumed too many carbohydrates at one meal?
Take a 45 minute to 1 hour walk post-meal to lower your blood sugar, this way your body can utilize the excess glucose as energy rather than store it as fat. In fact, moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week is recom- mended by the American Diabetes Association. Taking a daily walk after dinner is a great goal to set for blood sugar control!
What to do when you are experiencing low blood sugar?
When adjusting the eating patterns and/or physical activity of someone who is prediabetic or diabetic they can experience hypo- glycemia or low blood sugar because they are changing the way that their body is consuming and utilizing energy. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include: feeling light headed, confused, shaky, and breaking out into a sweat. If you are ever to experience any of these symptoms drink 4 ounces of 100% juice and wait 15 minutes to see if you feel more alert, if you are still feeling the hypogly- cemic symptoms repeat the juice consumption if necessary and wait another 15 minutes. Inform your primary physician/
endocrinologist when you are going to switch up your eating habits and increase physical activity, medications will need to be altered due to these changes.
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Produced by Balanced Habits R.D. Andrea Marincovich